Today is discussed in the Joint Committee on the Economy of our Congress a legal amendment that will severely affect the Institutionality of Protection of Personal Data in our country, by attributing to the National Consumer Service (Sernac) broad competence over this matter.
If this amendment is approved, the data would become a matter of consumption, and what is more delicate, Sernac would become the Agency in charge of ensuring this fundamental guarantee in Chile. In addition, and despite the recent and expected announcement by the President of the Republic to create a Cybersecurity Agency, it would also provide sernac with powers in this area.
It should be remembered that 4 years ago began in our country the legislative discussion to generate a new regulation and institutionality in the field of Protection of Personal Data, which will update our “old” Law of 1999. This bill, which is currently before the Senate Finance Committee without urgency, has been the result of a cross-cutting consensus among the executive, legislative, academia, private sector, and civil society.
This consensus was based on safeguarding the fundamental guarantee to our personal data, but without ignoring the reality of the digital ecosystem in which they transit, and the necessary but delicate balance that must exist between them.
A fundamental pillar of the above was the recognition of a collegiate, specialized and independent Data Protection Agency, approving that the Council for Transparency, in charge of ensuring access to public information in our country, should fulfill this role. This institutional and agency model is both that of the OECD countries and of the European Union.
The fact that sernac, an organization subject to the “political cycle”, is proposed for this role today, and not a collegiate, specialized and independent agency such as the one proposed by the draft Law on the Protection of Personal Data, in addition to the regulatory dispersion that has occurred in our country due to this legislative vacuum constitutes a threat to achieve as a country the appropriate minimum standard that has been demanded of us for so long by the OECD , but what is more serious , risks our insertion and development in the society and digital economy on which we depend so much and that this pandemic has made so evident.
Cristian Sepulveda Tormo
Lawyer University of Chile
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